Detrimental Collaborations in Creative Work: Evidence from Economics

31 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2019 Last revised: 2 Nov 2020

See all articles by Keyvan Vakili

Keyvan Vakili

London Business School

Florenta Teodoridis

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Michaël Bikard

INSEAD

Date Written: September 4, 2020

Abstract

Prior research on collaboration and creativity has mostly assumed that individuals choose to collaborate because collaboration positively contributes to output quality. In this paper, we argue that collaboration credit premium—the situation when the sum of fractional credits allocated to each collaborator exceeds 100%—can motivate individuals to collaborate on a project even when the project is of low quality or when the collaboration diminishes its prospects. To estimate the causal effect of collaborations formed due to collaboration credit premium, we test our argument on a sample of economists in academia and instrument for selection into collaboration by exploiting the field’s norm of alphabetical ordering of authors on academic articles. This norm means that economists whose family name begins with a letter from the beginning of the alphabet receive systematically more credit for collaborative work than economists whose family name begins with a letter from the end of the alphabet. We show that, in the presence such credit premium, individuals sometimes collaborate even if this choice decreases output quality. Thus, when accounting for the collaboration decision-making process, collaboration could sometimes reduce output quality and create a misalignment between the incentives of creative workers and the prospects of the project.

Keywords: Collaboration, Credit Allocation, Creativity, Credit Premium, Innovation

Suggested Citation

Vakili, Keyvan and Teodoridis, Florenta and Bikard, Michaël A., Detrimental Collaborations in Creative Work: Evidence from Economics (September 4, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3438932 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3438932

Keyvan Vakili (Contact Author)

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Florenta Teodoridis

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Michaël A. Bikard

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.insead.edu/faculty-research/faculty/michal-bikard

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